I grew up in rural Oklahoma, and currently reside in rural Tennessee. Living as a gay man in these rural landscapes can often feel impossible, yet here I find a thriving and diverse community of queer and trans people to vision the new world along with me. The friendships that form my community have become important not only as subject matter, but also as inspiration and source material, with much of my work created in collaboration with artists who specialize in different media and forms than my own.

 As an artist, I’m compelled by the conversation that happens at the intersection of philosophy, science, and art— a way to see the world prismatically and to unlearn harmful, antiquated social structures. I’ve always looked to science fiction as a model for how we can shape the future we want. By creating a fictionalized version of the future we desire, we take the first step towards its existence. 

 Most of my work utilizes in-camera effects, using sculpture, studio lights, and mirrors to allude to magical realism. By creating a physical moment of impossibility, I can hold it up to the rest of the world to show what else is possible. My work points to some of the joy inherent in this life, showing it to be as much of the present moment as it is of the future.


b. 1977 in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Currently lives and works in Dowelltown, Tennessee


instagram @benjyrussellphotos

Solo Exhibitions

2016            "Battlefield of Flowers" Angels Gate Cultural Center, San Pedro, CA

2014            "Soft Butch" Open Gallery, Nashville, TN

2008             "Pomp Kersey and the Battle of Short Mountain" Mainsite Contemporary Art, Norman, OK

2007            "It Ain't That I Wouldn't like to Stay" Pool Gallery, Berlin

2005            Mainsite Contemporary Art, Norman, OK


Selected Group Exhibitions

2018            “Godbottom”, Inferno, Brooklyn, NY

“Blackdove”, Red Dot Art Fair, Miami, FL

“Calicornucopia”, Calico, Brooklyn, NY

2017            "The Likes of Us", Growroom Showroom, Brooklyn, NY

"Good Mourning Tis of Thee", Co-Lab, Austin, TX

2016            "Are you loathsome" Video Revival, Brooklyn, NY

"Triple Fantasy" Third Man Records, Nashville, TN

2015            "Sightlines" The Packing Plant, Nashville, TN

"Flag Show" Club Roar, Nashville, TN

2014            "Written in the Stars" Antelope Valley College Art Gallery, Lancaster, CA 

"Re-Think Environment" Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA

2013            "Passages" Daniel Cooney Fine Art, New York City, NY

"Polari" Mo-Wave, Seattle, WA

2012            "Midnight Salon" Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2011            "Golden" La Petite Mort Gallery, Ottawa, Canada

2010            "A Feast of Fools" Second Floor, Brooklyn, NY

"Private Investigation" Mastodon Mesa, Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, CA

"At Least a Hundred Words" Pool Gallery, Berlin

2009            NADA Art Fair, Miami, FL with Pool Gallery (Berlin)

2008            "Polychromatic Dreams for Future Memories (This World is so Jacked)" Liberty Art Center, Liberty, TN

2006            "You Must Create" Pool Gallery, Berlin



2017            “On death, grief, and ritual”, panel member, Co-Lab Projects, Austin, TX

2016            Guest Lecturer at Temple University, Tyler School of Art

2015            Guest Lecturer at Brooklyn College, Film School


Professional Experience


Co-founder of Liberty Art Camp; artist residency in Liberty, Tennessee. We hosted over 30 national and international artists from England, Spain, Canada, New York City, and Los Angeles working in film, sculpture, performance, sound, photography, painting, and multi-disciplinary practices.



2019            Time is the thing a body moves through, T Fleischman, Coffee House Press

2018            “Check out Benjy Russell’s artwork”, Voyage LA, March 2018

2017            “The 2017 Sleight of Hand Exhibition”, LENSCRATCH, June 2017

2016            “Hazing the Muse by Benjy Russell and Rya Kleinpeter, shot in rural Tennessee”, Autre Magazine, January 2016

2014            Oxford American, Cover, Issue 84, spring 2014

Joshua Baker: “Projections and Perceptions; A look into Benjy Russell’s realities”, This City’s Full, TCF Presents, July 2014

“Soft Butch by Benjy Russell”, Recaps Magazine, Spring 2014

J Brownell, “Tennessee artist Benjy Russell shows his ‘Soft Butch’ side”, Out & About Nashville, February 2014

2013            “Hazing the Muse part II: Dr. Laurie Weeks interviews Benjy Russell and Rya Kleinpeter”, Recaps Magazine, Summer 2013

2012            Syzygy, beauty. An essay, cover, T.Fleischman, Sarabande Books

            “Benjy Russell”, Camera Club Los Angeles, May 2012

2011            “Down on the farm”, cover, Put A Egg On It, issue 6

2010            Why are you surprised I’m still here, Billy Kaufman, Loudmouth Press

2008            "A sanctuary for freedom of creation, the Liberty Art Camp in rural Tennessee" photo essay by Luke Gilford for Fake Magazine

commissioned by MUSAC for Frieze Art Fair in London

            “50 ways to leave your body”, cover and photo essay, Mean Magazine




Works held in private collections in Germany, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.